By: Kara M. (’21)
Disney released their newest animated feature film on March 5, 2021. It is called “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and it features the first Southeast Asian Disney princess.
More important than the actual content of the movie is the premise behind it. In recent years, Disney has been trying to be more culturally inclusive by creating stories outside of a eurocentric narrative. Many deeply appreciate Disney’s inclusion and diversification efforts.
The incorporation of Southeast Asian culture into “Raya and the Last Dragon” is an enjoyable part of the movie. In the clothing, foods, names, and architecture, you notice little elements of a general Southeast Asian atmosphere. The impeccable details and nuances of animation help with this storytelling.
“Raya and the Last Dragon” is a gorgeous film. The cinematography and graphics combine beautifully, especially in scenes of thematic importance. However, on a plot-level, the film seems to carry a lot of recycled plot points. There are kingdoms in conflict with each other (“Brave”), a princess who has to undergo a personal journey (“Moana” and more), as well as elements from “Frozen” towards the end.
So although I anticipated a lot of the movie, and the message may have been a little cliché, that is not entirely bad. The cool characters and pretty visuals made up for some of the lack in originality. It was a wholesome watch, and a Disney film that could become a classic.
To hear more about the movie, listen to my audio review below!